Monday #CFBPlayoff – Nat’l Championship Edition

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All season, conventional wisdom in college football has told us that there were no truly dominant teams this year, and there wasn’t one team that neutral fans would remember as one of the best of its era in 5-10 years.

After Clemson and Alabama dispatched of Oklahoma and Michigan State, respectively, in Thursday’s College Football Playoff with blowout wins, it might be fair to question those previous assumptions a little bit.

I still think we won’t put either this year’s Tigers or Crimson Tide in a class with title-winning teams from Miami, USC, Texas, Florida or Alabama earlier this century or even Florida State two years ago. Yet, we can’t at all doubt that these two teams are far and away the class of the college football season……

Continue Reading: Sports Central / How Alabama Can Be Beaten


2.

10 Reasons To Watch:

The national championship game is set, and No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabamaleft no doubt that they belong. The Tigers steamrolled No. 4 Oklahoma for a 37–17 win in the Orange Bowl hours before the Crimson Tide shut out No. 3Michigan State in a 38–0 rout in the Cotton Bowl.

Now Clemson and Alabama will meet in the second College Football Playoff national championship game on Jan. 11. The battle for a national title provides enough intrigue, but in case you need more, here are 10 reasons to be excited for this year’s championship game……

Continue Reading: National title game: 10 reasons to be excited for Alabama-Clemson – SI.com


3.

Where Did The $$$ Go?

College administrators don’t seem to know exactly where their athletes’ cost of attendance stipend money is going.

Last month, North Carolina State athletics director Debbie Yow faced a backlash during the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York when she said schools have “failed athletes” in teaching them fiscal responsibility considering she sees athletes riding around on hoverboards, which cost $300 or more. Alabama athletic director Bill Battlethen added, “tattoos and rims” to the discussion, a comment he explained later was supposed to be cute and just emphasize the frivolity of college students’ spending habits.

Beginning this academic year, NCAA Division I member schools were allowed to give their athletes a stipend to cover their full cost of attendance at their respective schools. USA TODAY Sports asked some of of the players competing in the College Football Playoff what they’ve spent their cost-of-attendance stipend money on thus far……

Continue Reading: What College Football Playoff entrants did with their NCAA stipends


4.

It’s College Football Trading Season:

Image result for 2016 college football trading seasonFormer Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray transferred to Oklahoma, and former Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight announced he’d become an Aggie.

So Oklahoma and Texas A&M essentially traded quarterbacks via transfers. We could wring our hands over this, or we could celebrate college players seeking their manifest destinies as all Americans should.

Or — OR! — we could throw out four other college football trades that will never, ever happen. They could be an assortment with varying degrees of irrelevance and irreverence, which you could chew up, spit out, or fume over our implications……

Continue Reading: College football trade possibilities for Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Alabama Crimson Tide, Baylor Bears and others


5.

5 Bold Predictions:

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So it’s come down to this. The second College Football Playoff has a very attractive national title game: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 1 Clemson.

This game features no shortage of storylines, from Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney taking on his alma mater to Alabama head coach Nick Saban trying to win his fifth national championship to a battle of Heisman Trophy supremacy between winner Derrick Henry and third-place finisher Deshaun Watson.

This duel in the desert features a high-powered Clemson offense that averages 38.4 points per game, No. 16 nationally, against a tough, talented Alabama defense that yields just 13.4 points per game, No. 1 nationally. With a win, Clemson can become the first FBS team to ever finish a season 15-0, but it won’t be easy against the Crimson Tide.

How will the national championship game unfold? Who’ll be left standing at night’s end? Here are five bold predictions about what will happen.

Continue Reading: 5 Bold Predictions for 2016 National Championship Game

What You Need To Know For Wednesday, Dec. 16 2015

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1.

Degenerate Pete

Speculating is a vice, millions are hooked and many will suffer grievously before this holiday season is over, because of their desires of the heart – not the head. The traditional “Christmas spirit” runs completely against the grain of the natural laws of Speculating, which have nothing to do with silly human weaknesses like Generosity or Kindness or Carelessness.

If Santa Claus had a speculating habit, he would have been dead a long time ago. There are a lot of Criminal Psychos between here & the North Pole, and they would show no mercy on a goofy old man who gets loaded one night a year and drives around through strange neighborhoods with a truckload of jewelry & furs & gold Rolexes. What if ISIS got their hands on him? They would set him on fire & stuff him head-first down a smoking chimney.

Which is not much different from how Professional speculators treat their victims at Xmas time, which also happens to be the end of the football season & the start of Playoff frenzy that will build & grow & throb like a Shark’s heart for 33 more days until Super Bowl Sunday.

Just like Pete the Penultimate.  He was denied again reinstatement by Commish Manfred.  As Ed Graney notes in his article for the Las Vegas Review-Journal: After MLB’s latest hypocritical ruling, Pete Rose doesn’t get it.”

Pete is a shady, classless, swarmy, dirty, clueless, unpenatent-hit king.  The debate may never be over, because however you may moralize the crimes of Clueless Pete – you will see on your tour of the museum of baseball, that he is only one of many deplorable characters that played the game.  For Pete, just shut up, tell your lawyers to shut up, stop making money on autographs and other mementos in Cooperstown, and be the ambassador you think you actually are, and never show – be more than about Pete Rose – if you can.  Kneel before the Gods of Baseball and beg forgiveness and walk the valley as the shepherd – then maybe….until then you might just have to be satisfied as the second best baseball player in hell, because Ty Cobb leads that team.

2.

Tell the Truth

As Danny Kanell avenges the war on football, Bob Costas believes football’s biggest problem can not be fixed.  Is Football headed to a Running Man scenario where football players are fielded by inmates and the shouts from the Colosseum grow louder for the lions?  Everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.  Who will deny the public what it wants?!

read more here:

3.

Missouri Compromise

It’s usually adorable when politicians try to venture into college sports. Combine grandstanding with a distinct lack of understanding of the system upon which an elected official is attempting to impose rules, and you have a recipe for comedy. Today’s example comes from Missouri state representative Rick Brattin, who has introduced a bill that would revoke the scholarships of athletes who refuse to play for any reason other than injury.

This is obviously a response to the Missouri football team’s threat in November to sit out a game against BYU. That move by the players turned a local story into a national one and basically got Missouri’s system president and chancellor fired. And while there is a robust argument to be had about whether that was the appropriate result, this isn’t the site for that. Today, as the Internet commenters always command, we’ll stick to sports.

Source: Analyzing the dumbest piece of college athletics legislation imaginable

4.

Way to Early Heisman Race 2016

NEW YORK—As Derrick Henry walked out of the Heisman Trophy winners’ press conference Saturday night, the next item on his to-do list was to text his grandmother Gladys. The woman who gave Henry his nickname (Shocka) couldn’t make it to the Big Apple to celebrate with the Alabama junior tailback. She was in a Florida hospital, but that hospital hosted one heck of a party.

Meanwhile, Stanford do-everything back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson left the ceremony already planning a return visit. They’re sophomores, and it’s quite possible they’ll be back here next year. It’s also quite possible one of them will hoist the trophy. But don’t just picture those two with the Heisman. Take a look at the top eight vote-getters from this season.

1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (1,832 points)
2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (1,539)
3. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (1,165)
4. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (334)
5. Keenan Reynolds, QB, Navy (180)
6. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (110)
7. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (79)
8. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (57)

Besides McCaffrey and Watson, Mayfield, Fournette and Cook will return next year. So will Oregon tailback Royce Freeman, who led the Pac-12 in rushing (1,706 yards). So will Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, who looked like a Heisman candidate as a redshirt freshman and should own the Buckeyes’ starting job free and clear as a redshirt junior. So will UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, who looked like a budding superstar in his first few college games and should enjoy the fruits of a year-one-to-year-two improvement.

Source: Early look at 2016 Heisman race: Who follows Derrick Henry?

5.

Out of Chaos Comes Order

Every season, hundreds of college football teams line up for a three-month, 12-game haul in the hopes of gaining a spot in the College Football Playoff.

This year, it was an easy selection. Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oklahoma were the right picks. It was a relatively easy night for Jeff Long and his committee.

However, looking back at the regular season, six critical plays were needed to make this year’s selection such a simple one. Had these plays not happened, controversy would’ve reigned supreme over the college football world.

Here are the six plays that defined the 2015 college football season.

Source: Sports Central / Sports Articles and Columns / College Football / Six Plays that Defined the 2015 Season

Kane's point streak ends at 26, Avs blank Blackhawks

6.

You Play to #Win the Game

”We didn’t focus on (Kane’s streak), we focused on winning the hockey game,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. ”I thought we did a good job offensively, defensively. in the neutral zone.

”I liked our game tonight, and our goalie was really solid in key moments in the game.”

Source: Kane’s point streak ends at 26, Avs blank Blackhawks

What You Need To Know For #TNF & 4 More Things

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1.

1991 Your Table Is Ready…

The last time the Lions won at Lambeau, the year was 1991 – The First Gulf War was over before the baseball season started, I’ve been to parties that lasted longer – Bill Clinton said he wanted to be President – Twins win the World Series – Magic has HIV – There was a shooting at Iowa University that 5 people lost their life – The Cold War officially ended when the Soviet Union dissolved after Gorbachev’s resignation – basically a lot of things.  The last time the Lions swept the Packers, was also in ’91.  So you begin to wonder about parrelels and destiny for a team that looked to go 0’fer in 2015 and are looking at an outside shot at the playoffs – if……..too many things fall their way.

Finally, the Football Gods have given us a reason to watch the #NFL on #TNF that doesn’t require a lineup.  Not that we won’t have one with guys playing tonight – but you do not need a lineup to enjoy this one.

Look, it’s hard enough to believe the Lions can sweep the Packers, but there is something about this new offense from Jim-Bob Cooter, or the emergence of Ziggy Ansah, or something seems weird about Aaron Rodgers lately, that the Lions DO have a chance at home tonight – either way here is DC*3PO’s top 5 for tonight, and make mine nostalgia for a Detroit victory +3:

Guys to watch on #DraftKings for Tonight’s game, according to DC*3PO

  • Aaron Rodgers $7,200 – 20.3 – 63%
  • Matt Stafford $6,100 – 18.8 – 68.1%
  • Calvin Johnson $7,600 – 17.4 – 68.1%
  • Randall Cobb $6,600 – 14 – 52.1%
  • Golden Tate $4,800 – 12.4 – 70.4%

2.

F.U.E.S.P.N

That is Keenan Reynolds.  The best Navy quarterback since some dodger named Roger won the Heisman, back in ’63.  Why should you care? Well for 1) he is the all time rushing-TD leader in the history of college football and 2) He WAS the leading vote-getter in the ESPN/Nissan Fan Poll – but ESPN removed him from the ballot.  Why?  Because, ESPN doesn’t show the Army/Navy game – CBS does – and the WorldWide Leader does not want to promote someone they do not feature…see last Heisman rant re: Baker Mayfield.  ESPN has tried to explain it to Deadspin – but let’s face it, it’s sh*tty politics and smells as bad.  Maybe if he wore a dress he could get some recognition from ESPN – until then you can at least go here: and vote for Keenan to at least be on the FAN poll – just search for “American” under conference, “Navy” under team and then Reynolds.


3.

Pistol – ShaQ – Ben

That is Ben Simmons and hopefully he never has to play for the 76ers and will just trade in his amateur Purple+Gold for professional Purple+Gold.  He leads the nation in rebounds per game and just had a 43 pt game – without making a 3.  That’s Pistol-Pete territory, who never averaged below 43pts/game in all 3 years he played for the Tigers (no 3pt arc nor shot clock – Insanity).

Oh, and Steph Curry had 28pts last night……in the third quarter.  Even Kobe scored 31 on 10-24 shooting…….just sharing the rock of love.


4.

Kirby & Richt 

Both men prove you can go home again – Kirby back to Georgia and Richt back to the U.  Can Kirby bring with him the PROCESS and make Georgia more relevant than they have been?  It’s a tall order because, like Les Miles, championships will be what matters at UGA – If in 5yrs there is still no SEC title, then what?  The real issue will be who Kirby takes with him from Alabama and to me it will be enough for Saban to leave ‘Bama and get back into the NFL – Colts?

For Richt, it’s more about culture building at the U.  He was Jim Kelly’s backup when the U was beginning to create its legacy.  For awhile now, Miami has been irrelevant and has no foundation.  Richt is a great coach and the media and people who know him say he’s an even better guy.  If he does for Miami, what he did for Athens and can re-fashion that secret sauce, Miami will become important again.


5.

The Unionization of Baseball

Marvin Miller advised Curt Flood not to sue. It would end his career, he told him. Even if he won, the court would never award damages. Flood had nothing to gain by taking baseball to court.

“But if we win,” Flood replied, “it would help my teammates, wouldn’t it? And it would help all the players in both leagues? It would help all of the players coming up in the future?” That, as Miller would later say, was Curt Flood.

Flood was one of a long line of players who worked to bring down the reserve clause. He eventually would lose his case before the Supreme Court, but his actions helped spur changes that would topple the clause within a few years. On April 10, 1976, Andy Messersmith signed as a free agent with Atlanta, and the reserve clause that had bound players indefinitely to their owners for nearly a century finally was defeated……(continue reading)

Source: The Unionization of Baseball – The Hardball Times

What You Need To Know For Wednesday 11-4-15

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playoff_nov3

1. Save The Outrage Francis:

Important disclaimer: The rankings we are about to talk about do not matter much, in terms of the actual College Football Playoff. Analyzing the selection committee’s first rankings, released on Tuesday, requires putting them into the proper Nov. 3 perspective.

Clemson, LSU, Ohio State and Alabama would be in the playoff if it started now, but, as always, we have to emphasize the obvious amid the outrage: The playoff does not start now, nor does it start next week or the week after. A lot is still left to be decided. In fact, the first rankings were outdated after four hours, as undefeated No. 24 Toledo lost to Northern Illinois 32-27 on Tuesday night.

The College Football Playoff could collectively reduce the stress levels of college football fans across America if it chose to not publicly release a top 25 until……(continue reading)

SOURCE: FIRST CFB PLAYOFF RANKINGS RELEASED – Matt Brown


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2. This Is Sparta Xerxes, Not Intramurals:

In 2013, Colin Kaepernick dropped back to pass on fourth and goal from the 5-yard line in the Super Bowl, immediately felt pressure up the middle and lofted a poor pass to Michael Crabtree, who couldn’t haul it in. The San Francisco 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-31, but with Kaepernick and head coach Jim Harbaugh in place, the future looked bright.

On Monday — the day before Kaepernick’s 28th birthday — the 49ers informed Kaepernick he would be replaced by Blaine Gabbert for the team’s Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

How did it get to this? How did a quarterback……(continue reading)

SOURCE: THE FALL OF COLIN KAEPERNICK – Andrew Garda


Whisenhunt

3. Mariota the Coach-Killa?

The Titans have fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt after the team was destroyed by the Texans on Sunday, 20-6, falling to 1-6 on the season. It’s not a completely shocking move, considering Whisenhunt’s overall record of 3-20 over two years.

The surprising part of this is that Tennessee decided to pull the trigger in the middle of Marcus Mariota’s rookie season. While Mike Mularky was promoted to interim head coach, what does the change mean for the second pick in the 2015 NFL draft?

The track record for young quarterbacks who have offensive coordinator and head coach changes is fraught with failure. Alex Smith went through……(continue reading)

SOURCE: WHISENHUNT’S GONE, SO WHAT NOW? – Andrew Garda


gronkonomics

4. Lesson 1 – Always Buy Rubbers in Bulk:

His wild and party-loving persona may not give you the impression that Rob Gronkowski is disciplined with his money, but Gronk would argue otherwise. The Patriots tight end claimed in a recent published memoir — which he totally wrote all by himself — that he has yet to touch one dime of his signing bonus or NFL contract money and that everything he has been spending has come from endorsements. That’s remarkably smart money management. Just let the annual party ships pay for everything.

So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Gronk has paired with Capital One to dispense “common-sense advice for money management” in a promotion called GRONKonomics……(continue reading)

SOURCE: PRESENTING GRONKONOMICS – Michael Tunison


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5. Same As It Ever Was:

The baseball postseason is less than one-sixth the length of the regular season, but sometimes it feels twice as long. One month passes in the regular season and you barely notice; one month in the playoffs is a lifetime. Remember when the National League Central was all anyone could talk about? Or when the Blue Jays were an unstoppable juggernaut? Or when all that mattered was the Cubs?

The postseason tells us so much — about the game, the players, the teams and how we react to all of them. Here’s a look at 10 major takeaways from the 2015 baseball postseason: What do we know now that we didn’t one month ago? We were so young then. We had so much to learn……(continue reading)

SOURCE: 10 LESSONS FROM THE MLB POSTSEASON – Will Leitch

What No One Tells You About #Winning: College Football Week 8

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No. 22 Temple pulls away late to beat East Carolina 24-14

AP Photo-Karl B DeBlaker

1. Temple of Doom?

Temple is 7-0.  Just let that sink in for a minute……7-0.  Last night, Temple had to rally in the 4th qtr and you could say that ECU gave it to them with horrible QB play, but that’s what a team ranked in the top 25 for the first time does right? Rally?!  The Temple D is good and if they can throw it like they did in the 4th, they could be even more dangerous.  Getting a road-win, while being ranked is another big step for the Owls.  Setting up a huge test against Notre Dame.  Now maybe you aren’t impressed yet with Temple and maybe you have no idea where they are, and that’s ok.  But you will if they beat Notre Dame – Kali-Mah!

  • No. 22 Temple pulls away late to beat East Carolina 24-14 – No. 22 Temple finally cracked the Top 25 because of its defense and its ground game. Some timely passing will help the Owls stay there.  P.J. Walker threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Robby Anderson, and Temple scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to rally past East Carolina 24-14 on Thursday night.  Walker finished 19 of 35 for 250 yards for the Owls (7-0, 4-0 American Athletic Conference).  Anderson caught eight passes for 126 yards, with five of those grabs coming in the fourth quarter……(continue reading)

  • Rosen leads UCLA past No. 20 California, 40-24 – With UCLA’s season seemingly teetering on the brink of collapse, Josh Rosen calmly propped it back up with a passing performance that put the freshman’s name in the Bruins’ record book.  Rosen completed a school-record 34 passes and threw two of his three touchdown passes to Devin Fuller, and UCLA got back on track with a 40-24 victory over No. 20 California on Thursday night.  Rosen passed for 399 yards in another splendid game for the standout rookie, and Thomas Duarte had career highs of 10 catches for 141 yards for the Bruins (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12). UCLA rebounded from consecutive losses to……(continue reading)

nationwide_college map

2. On With The Show This It…

It’s the second-half of the season and pretenders will separate from the contenders in an unappealing Saturday march to the playoff.  You know there aren’t any pivotal games when #GameDay travels to James Madison.  It doesn’t mean there couldn’t be chaos, because there could and we all saw it happen in 2007, in weeks just like this.  So with the Greatest Cyclone ever measured by humans, bears down on Mexico – Let’s brace ourselves and hope it all works out. (h/t Matt Brown)

Early Afternoon

No. 6 Clemson at Miami(+7)
Noon, ABC

Before we get to the Nov. 7 game that everyone has circled on their calendar, when Florida State visits Death Valley, Clemson has two tricky road games to deal with: at Miami and at N.C. State. This is only the second Clemson road trip of the season — the Tigers survived Louisville on a Thursday night in Week 3 — although Sun Life Stadium for an afternoon game isn’t necessarily the most imposing venue. Miami does pose a test for Clemson’s revamped defense, which has played at a high level through the first half of the season. Quarterback Brad Kaaya has thrown just one interception, and Miami averages a solid 6.4 yards per play. However, the Hurricanes do have questions about a rebuild offensive line — even if they’ve allowed just seven sacks — which could spell trouble against Shaq Lawson and a disruptive Clemson front. Saturday can be both a showcase game for them, as well as quarterback Deshaun Watson, who will look to pick apart a struggling Hurricanes defense that ranks 93rd in yards per play allowed. This is by no means a guaranteed win for a Clemson team with playoff aspirations, but the Tigers are quite simply a better all-around team, equipped to exploit Miami’s issues.

Clemson 34.7  –  17.85  83.85%


Iowa State at No. 2 Baylor(-37)
Noon, ESPN

On a Saturday that isn’t looking like the most appealing day of football, you might as well watch Baylor do its Baylor thing and score over 60 points again. The Bears average 63.8 points per game, with wide receiver Corey Coleman’s 16 receiving touchdowns out-pacing the touchdown output of 16 entire teams. Iowa State has nine passing touchdowns in six games and has given up 16, and that trend will surely continue. The last time Iowa State visited Waco, Baylor scored 71. After giving TCU trouble for a quarter with three touchdowns last week, Iowa State went on to get shut out the rest of the game. Baylor will take care of business, get a week off and then move on to its much more difficult November schedule

Baylor 51.35  –  20.35  95.8%


Auburn at Arkansas(-6)
Noon, SEC Network

Part of the reason that this Saturday’s slate doesn’t look great is because games that looked important in the preseason suddenly look depressing. Exhibit A: Auburn at Arkansas, featuring two of the most disappointing teams in the country. Auburn is actually 4-2, but it barely beat Jacksonville State, barely got a hand on Leonard Fournette, switched quarterbacks in September and has dropped from 76th to 83rd in defensive yards per play under Will Muschamp. Arkansas lost to Toledo and Texas Tech in nonconference play, and while it did win at Tennessee, it is 2-4 and is going to need multiple upsets to get to a bowl. It can at least start getting on track here by running the ball at home against a vulnerable Auburn defense.

Arkansas 36.65  –  23.65  78.75%


Kansas State at Texas(-4)
Noon, Fox Sports 1

Both the Wildcats and Longhorns, in seasons expected to be struggles, have now faced embarrassments. Texas got steamrolled by both Notre Dame and TCU, while Kansas State — after two near-upsets of Oklahoma State and TCU — lost 55-0 to Oklahoma. After an off week, this is the first time we’ve seen the Longhorns since their jubilant win over rival Oklahoma. Whether it’s a turning point for Charlie Strong and Texas remains to be seen. The win over Oklahoma was huge, but it’s also a rivalry in which unexpected results have happened in the past. Texas’ offense does, at least, have better big-play capability than Kansas State, who may have been exposed by the Sooners in a clear rebuilding season.

Texas 28.9  –  KState 27.6  59.9%


Northwestern at Nebraska(-7.5)
Noon, ESPN2

Remember what happened the last time Northwestern played in Lincoln?:

Since then, this year, Nebraska has suffered a Hail Mary loss in nearly the exact same spot … in addition to three other horrifying, heartbreaking losses. Nebraska has lost four games by a total of 11 points, while Northwestern — who started 5-0 — has lost two games by 68. The Wildcats defense has struggled two weeks in a row, giving up over 200 yards last week to a backup Iowa running back, while the struggling offense hasn’t made much progress, ranking 126th in yards per play. Nebraska may have the nation’s worst pass defense, but Northwestern isn’t the team to exploit that weakness.

Nebraska 25.1  –  Northwestern 18.8  66.55%


No. 25 Pittsburgh at Syracuse(+7)
Noon, ESPN2

Did you know that Pitt is ranked in the AP poll? Or that Pitt has only one loss, on a 57-yard field goal by Iowa as time expired? Every season has these types of out-of-nowhere records that sneak up on you, but Pat Narduzzi has done a fine job in his first season as a head coach, despite a season-ending injury to star tailback James Conner. This weekend should bring another win to get Pitt to bowl eligibility already after four straight seasons in which it has finished 6-7 or 7-6. It has done this despite playing only two home games so far this season, with four of the last five at home. The bad news is that the last five games feature North Carolina, Notre Dame, Duke, Louisville and Miami, so the run in the top 25 might not last too long after Saturday’s visit to the Carrier Dome.

Pitt 31.7  –  ‘cuse 21.5  71.85%


Late Afternoon

Tennessee at No. 8 Alabama(-15.5)
3:30 p.m., CBS

The rivalry known as the Third Saturday of October will once again taken place on the month’s fourth Saturday, and it hasn’t been much of a rivalry lately either. Alabama has won eight in a row, covering the entire Nick Saban era, with only one game staying within one score. Tennessee was hoping to AltX.Logo.whitefinally turn things around and compete with the Crimson Tide again, but it enters Saturday just 3-3, thanks to three blown leads against Oklahoma, Florida and Tennessee. The Vols have been inconsistent on offense under new coordinator Mike DeBord, and the defense ranks 88th in yards per play allowed. Neither is good news against Alabama, which has possibly the most terrifying defense in the country, and one of the most terrifying offensive players in tailback Derrick Henry. Alabama’s defensive front should dominate the game, and Henry can wear down what has been a beatable Vols defense. There still isn’t a good reason to pick Tennessee to win in this series.

‘Bama 31.5  –  UT 17.3  81.75%


Texas Tech at No. 17 Oklahoma(-14)
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2

Baker Mayfield walked on and started right away at Texas Tech as a freshman in 2013, and now, in his debut season at Oklahoma, few quarterbacks are playing better. Oklahoma bounced back from its loss to Texas by blowing away Kansas State 55-0, behind a five-touchdown outing from Mayfield. He’s fourth in the nation in passer rating, and he has a solid core of skill players at his disposal, led by receiver Sterling Shepard. We know Oklahoma will be able to score here. The big test is its defense, which ranks ninth in yards per play and is coming off a shutout. The Sooners have yet to be tested by an offense like the Red Raiders’ unit, and this will be an interesting measuring stick before we get to November with their back-to-back games against Baylor and TCU.

OU 43.35  –  TT 24.05  87.35%


Indiana at No. 7 Michigan State(-16.5)
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2

Every game feels like a trap for Michigan State, who beat Purdue by three and Rutgers by seven. Now, it has to re-focus after one of the most improbable wins in football history, against its archrival, hosting an Indiana team that nearly upset Ohio State. The Hoosiers are still waiting on the return of tailback Jordan Howard from an ankle injury, and on Saturday they’ll surely be relying plenty on the arm of quarterback Nate Sudfeld against a somewhat depleted Michigan State back seven. The Spartans are mediocre defensively, compared with past seasons, and thus Indiana is the type of team that can put a scare into them. The problem, as always, is that Indiana can’t cover anyone. Connor Cook and receiver Aaron Burbridge have formed a fantastic pairing this year, and they’ll keep rolling against the Hoosiers, even if it won’t be surprising if the Spartans get off to a slow start.

MichSt 37.9  –  Indiana 21.5  83.25%


Washington State at Arizona(-7.5)
4 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Washington State has back-to-back Pac-12 wins after sweeping the state of Oregon, as Luke Falk has hit his stride in Mike Leach’s offense. Falk is averaging 395.2 yards per game, leading the Cougars to 45 points against Oregon and 52 against Oregon State. Arizona’s defense is certainly beatable, as the Wildcats continue to play without star linebacker Scooby Wright. Of course, it works both ways. Washington State’s defense has issues, like always, and Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon has yet to throw an interception. While Arizona is at home, injuries could shift this one in Wazzu’s favor. Wright is out, and tailback Nick Wilson, cornerback DaVonte’ Neal and safety Tellas Jones are all questionable.

Wazzu 35.1  –  ‘Zona 29.65  67.25%


No. 23 Duke at Virginia Tech(-2.5)
3:30 p.m., ESPNU

Virginia Tech was supposed to rebound this year and perhaps take control of the ACC Coastal again — it dominated the division most of last decade — but instead the Blue Devils go to Blacksburg with a 5-1 record, while the Hokies are just 3-4, with questions swirling about Frank Beamer’s future. Virginia Tech does at least get back quarterback Michael Brewer, who has been out since his injury in the opener against Ohio State. Duke has been excellent defensively, but the question is whether its passing game can do enough on the road against Virginia Tech’s pass rush. This feels like a game that comes down to whichever team makes a big play on defense or special teams.

Duke 23.3  –  VaTech 17.85  62.5%


Virginia at North Carolina(-17.5)
3:30 p.m., ESPN3

North Carolina joins Duke and Pitt in the ACC Coastal’s surprising one-loss club. The Tar Heels blew their opening game vs. South Carolina with red-zone turnovers, but the offense has started to roll behind a stout offensive line and the running game, led by Elijah Hood. And while Will Muschamp’s presence at Auburn hasn’t made an immediate difference in the Tigers’ defense, North Carolina has improved from 117th to 32nd in yards per play allowed under Gene Chizik. UNC’s best wins right now are Illinois and a struggling Georgia Tech, but this team may be the best in the division.

UNC 41.25  –  18.15  90.75%


Penn State vs. Maryland(+6.5) (at Baltimore)
3:30 p.m., ESPN

Congratulations to Randy Edsall, who at least finished his tenure as Maryland coach with a perfect 1-0 record against Penn State. Every other Maryland coach in history has a combined record of 1-35-1 against the Nittany Lions. This is the debut of offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as interim coach, but we have seen Locksley as a head coach before: He went 2-26 at New Mexico. So, Locksley has two career wins as a head coach, and Maryland has two wins against Penn State in the history of what the Terrapins really want to be a rivalry — see the refusal to shake hands last year. Penn State has plenty of issues, but its defensive line may dominate this game, and the Terps will have to slow down star Nittany Lions freshman Saquon Barkley, who has 389 rushing yards in two games against Big Ten opponents.

PennSt 31.55  –  Maryland 16.2  82.55%


Wisconsin at Illinois(+6.5)
3:30 p.m., BTN

Iowa controls the Big Ten West with a perfect record, while Wisconsin and Illinois are tying to keep pace at one loss each. The Fighting Illini have had a solid season under interim coach Bill Cubit, and they need only two more wins to get to bowl eligibility. There’s a good chance they’ll do it, although Saturday will be a tough challenge to consistently move the ball against the Badgers defense. Wisconsin is still waiting for the return of running back Corey Clement from sports hernia surgery, but here it might be able to keep winning with that defense, led by linebacker Joe Schobert, who has 9 ½ sacks.

Illinois 21.3  – Wiscy 20.05  52.45%


Prime Time

No. 3 Utah at USC(-3.5)
7:30 p.m., Fox

USC began the season ranked eighth in the AP poll. Now it’s 3-3 with an interim coach. And yet… the Trojans are three-point favorites against the undefeated, third-ranked Utes, who have beaten Michigan, California, Oregon and Arizona State. Utah has played better football than USC this year, but it’s not surprising to see the Trojans considered favorites. They’re still talented, especially on offense, where they actually rank fifth in yards per play. They actually averaged over seven yards per play in the losses to Notre Dame and Stanford, which means defense has been the problem — run defense in particular. Utah will attack the Trojans as much as possible with versatile tailback Devontae Booker, who continues to be the overwhelming focal point of the Utes offense. It might be enough, especially if the Utes can continue to force turnovers. But despite the disappointment it has faced this year, this is the type of game where USC might be able to re-group and pull of a much-needed win, because it still has the individual talent to compete with anybody.

Utah 29.75  –  SoCal 26.05  71%


No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 24 Ole Miss(-6)
7 p.m., ESPN

This is Week 8’s only game between ranked opponents, but it lost its luster last week thanks to losses by both teams: Texas A&M to Alabama and Ole Miss to Memphis. Both stand at one loss within the SEC, meaning this might as well be considered an SEC West elimination game. It AltX.Logo.whitewill feature one of the best matchups of the season, as Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett — arguably the nation’s best defensive player — squares off against Ole Miss offensive tackle — arguably the nation’s best offensive lineman — who returns at just the right time after sitting out the first half of the season for improper benefits. While the Rebels get one star back, they might be without defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who suffered a concussion while playing running back against Memphis. This game will be won on the perimeter, as neither team cares much about establishing the run and both are loaded with weapons at receiver, headlined by Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk. Ole Miss has the better defense, so it’s tough to pick against the Rebels at home, but last Saturday’s loss to Memphis didn’t look like an accident. Look for a bounce-back game from Texas A&M Kyle Allen.

OleMiss 28.15  –  Texas a+m 27.5  68.5%


No. 9 Florida State at Georgia Tech(+6.5)
7 p.m., ESPN2

This looked like a potential ACC title game preview in the preseason. Now, Georgia Tech is desperately trying to stop the bleeding. The Yellow Jackets won last year’s Orange Bowl and began this season with two blowouts of overmatched opponents, but now they’ve dropped five straight games, plummeting to 2-5. Even with a difficult schedule, this team was hoping for another major bowl bid. Now it’s just trying to get to the postseason, which is an unlikely proposition. Florida State continues to quietly roll along undefeated, with Everett Golson committing zero turnovers and Dalvin Cook averaging 8.7 yards per carry as he tries to make a case for the Heisman. Maybe Georgia Tech can finally turn things around. Maybe it can start converting third downs (it has dropped from first to 114th in that category) and get the option moving against a team it ran well against last year. It is a bit of a trap possibility for Florida State. But as long as Cook stays healthy (he’s battled a hamstring injury), the Seminoles should be fine against a team that has struggled to replicate last year’s offensive efficiency.

FSU 34.4  –  GaTech 23.4  74.5%


No. 1 Ohio State at Rutgers(-21)
8 p.m., ABC

Rutgers finally has something going for itself, as Kyle Flood returned from suspension in time for the Scarlet Knights to beat Indiana 55-52, erasing a 52-27 second-half deficit, tying the game with 6:29 left but having the extra point blocked and the winning on a field goal as time expired. It was a nice comeback for Rutgers, who is now 3-3, but reality is about to hit. Last year, the Buckeyes beat the Knights 56-17, and this starts a tough string of games with Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska next for Rutgers. Ohio State is turning to J.T. Barrett as starting quarterback, a wise decision, and Barrett should keep the Buckeyes rolling against one of the nation’s worst defenses. To make matters worse for Rutgers, standout receiver Leonte Carroo is questionable with an ankle injury.

OhSt 38.5  –  Rutgers 18.25  89.05%


Western Kentucky at No. 5 LSU(-17)
7 p.m., ESPNU

There is a high probability that Leonard Fournette trounces the Hilltoppers for 200 yards, and that this isn’t much of a game. Safety Jalen Mills is returning to the LSU secondary after missing the first half of the season, re-joining a talented group led by Tre’Davious White, and while Western Kentucky has a ridiculously prolific passing offense, it was held to 14 points (in a win) at Vanderbilt. Western Kentucky is a fun team, and this matchup does have some intrigue, because the Hilltoppers are capable of scaring anyone. Since the Vandy game, Brandon Doughty has thrown for at least 350 yards every week, completing 74 percent for 2,709 yards and 24 touchdowns overall. So perhaps the Hilltoppers can put a scare into LSU after its tight win vs. Florida last week. But this WKU defense can’t slow down Fournette.

LSU 39.05  –  WKU 26.55  76.7%


Kentucky at Mississippi State(-11.5)
7:30 p.m., SEC Network

Kentucky had not won an SEC road game since 2009, until it won at South Carolina on Sept. 12. This is actually its first road game since then, as the Wildcats continue to push for their first bowl bid since 2010. They’re 4-2, with their only losses coming by a total of eight points to Florida and Auburn. Winning in Starkville is a steep challenge, though. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott isn’t the national superstar he was a year ago — Mississippi State was No. 1 when these teams met last October — but he has yet to throw an interception and continues to produce for a team that’s flying under the radar because of its two SEC losses. Mississippi State isn’t the team it was last year, but it’s still a competitive squad that will be chasing eight or nine wins.

MissSt 35.55  –  ‘Tucky 19.25  84.3%


Late Night

Washington at No. 10 Stanford(-1)
10:30 p.m., ESPN

Back in Week 1, this would have looked like a possible 6-3 struggle in which both teams struggled to cross midfield. Now, Stanford is playing the best football in the country. The Cardinal offense has looked terrific, with Christian McCaffrey emerging as one of the nation’s top playmakers behind a sturdy line, while Kevin Hogan has made strides at quarterback. The Stanford offense is actually well ahead of the defense, which bucks recent trends. The opposite is true for the Huskies, who have played really well on defense despite losing a ton of talent to the NFL. Freshman quarterback Jake Browning — who may not be 100 percent with a shoulder injury — has struggled against top competition, and the Huskies are going to need the hot streak of freshman running back Myles Gaskin to continue to hang with the Cardinal on the road. Stanford’s playing too well right now for it to happen.

Stanford 31  –  UW 21.6  72.05%

pablo (10)

 

Weekend Update: #SadFansAreSad

name of site - hunter thompson style

1. This Is Sparta!

Poor Michigan Fan – you’ve endured a lot of pain and suffering on the gridiron and on the hardwood.  Sad fans being sad is almost your motto and after this Saturday, it’ gonna take a whole lotta cheese-curds and whiskey to get you thru this latest loss.  For the rest of us – IT. WAS. AMAZING!  To see how you snatched defeat from the jaws of victory is one of the best endings in College Football history – you’ll have to relive this moment forever every fall, because TV will show it over and over and over and over, and it got us thinking about the rest of the miracles we’ve seen over the years in college football.

Miracle at Michigan, 1994

Bluegrass Miracle, 2002

Statue of Liberty, Fiesta Bowl 2007

Miracle In Miami, 1984

Kick 6, 2013

The Play, 1982


lsu_bama

2. Same As It Ever Was…

So what did we learn this Saturday – we learned that the SEC West will still come down to the November 7th game between LSU and Alabama.  The Crimson Tide took A&M behind the woodshed again and let them know that they are still not ready, and LSU overcame Florida by dusting off an old favorite – seriously coach, how do you not expect that from Les Miles – those who fail to learn their history are doomed to repeat it…The Spread infiltrated the SEC, but it seems POWER still wins.  So we’ll see, both teams seem to be getting better.  The same can’t be said for Ole Miss.

Recaps

Michigan State 27, Michigan 23
Ohio State 38, Penn State 10
Notre Dame 41, USC 31
LSU 35, Florida 28
Alabama 41, Texas A&M 23
Memphis 37, Ole Miss 24
Baylor 62, West Virginia 38
Iowa 40, Northwestern 10

What You Need To Know for #CollegeGameDay This Weekend

name of site - hunter thompson style

USATSI_8849584

Since the days of Agamemnon – the Trojans always lose

1. More ‘Cutty’ Sark?

He is who we thought he was!  At least some of us thought that.  Others thought that he would be more Pete than Lane.  They never listened when the handful of us told USC fan, this guy is not your answer to returned-glory.  The Trojans lost again, at home, and to Sark’s former program that now employs Chris Petersen.  Of the two coaches, who would USC fan rather have now?

The game started in the twilight (omen?) with a sparse crowd that watched a double-digit underdog upset USC 17-12.  The Huskies of U-Dub looked enthusiastic and the USC offense never just ran the DAMN ball.  Does Steve drink on the sidelines?  How does Tre Madden average 7.1 ypc and Ronald Jones II averages 8.1 ypc, but you only give them the ball 25 times?  Reads like a repeat of the game against Texas in the Rose Bowl a few years ago when he was the O.C.

SoCal fan had a lot of Hot Takes after the game and they are correct – he is doing turrable, (said ina Charles Barkley voice) with all this perceived talent.  We have seen all we need to see of ‘Cutty’ Sark – from his sophmorish behavior at a pep rally, to choosing to throw the ball on second and third downs – to then settle for a 45yd FG on 4th down, to trying to get the crowd fired up on the sideline – that’s what those nice girls in the white sweaters are for!  Sark will not make it at USC and the program will sink to pre-Pete levels.  Although, I bet Terry Saban wouldn’t mind living in Palm Springs – it beats Tuscaloosa!

2. You Better You Bet

In year’s past, all we would hear about this week, is OU v. Texas, or Miami v. FSU – but right now I’d hedge that more people are interested in Northwestern-Michigan, and Utah-California – at least I am, along with a few other games that are slated this Saturday – all times EASTERN.  So Let’s Get It On!

Morning Games

  • (10) Oklahoma v. Texas (@Dallas) noon ABC – OU -17.5
    • There is no reason for Texas to keep this close. Oklahoma is a legitimate Big 12 contender. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is averaging 10.2 yards per attempt, proving to be an effective fit for Lincoln Riley’s system, but also a dangerous improviser. Beyond struggles against Tulsa’s Baylor-influenced offense, Oklahoma’s defense has been excellent too. Simply put, the Sooners are a much better, more complete team than the Longhorns. Texas’ offense is a mess, its defense ranks 110th in yards per play and the team is suffering social media meltdowns.
      • Oklahoma 41 – Texas 14—94.85%

  • Maryland @ (1) Ohio St – noon Big (not)10 Network – OSU -33
    • Ohio State may put an end to the Randy Edsall era. On Thursday, 247Sports reported that Maryland is planning to fire Edsall, perhaps after the Terrapins inevitably lose to the Buckeyes. They have a bye week next, so the timing would make sense if they’re planning to cut him loose during the season. Maryland has been awful thus far, getting off to a 2-3 start with a blowout home loss to Bowling Green, and a total of six points scored the last two weeks in embarrassments at the hands of West Virginia and Michigan.
      • Maryland 7 – Ohio St 39—93.3%

  • Illinois @ (22) Iowa – noon ESPN2 – Iowa -11
    • Raise your hand if you had these teams a combined 9-1 at this stage in the season. The Fighting Illini will likely fall off a bit, but Iowa might be the best bet in the Big Ten West right now. The Hawkeyes won 10-6 on the road vs. Wisconsin last week, and they play Maryland and Indiana in their two cross-division games. They won that game despite the fact that quarterback C.J. Beathard, who was sharp in September, completed just 9 of 21 passes for 77 yards. The Hawkeyes are doing what the best Kirk Ferentz teams have done.
      • Illinois 16.45 – Iowa 27.55—73.9%

  • No. 3 Baylor at Kansas – noon, FS1 – Kansas +44
    • Last week, Baylor scored seven first-half touchdowns in a 63-35 win over Texas Tech. The 63 total points merely matched the Bears’ season average. Kansas, meanwhile, is well on its way to losing every game this season. It can reasonably be assumed that Baylor can name its point total in this one. It’s a 44-point favorite on the road in a conference game, and in the last three matchups Baylor has won by a total score of 160-42. Unless Baylor shows up completely uninterested, this will get out of hand in a hurry.
      • Baylor 54.1 – Kansas 16.3—97.05%

  • Indiana at Penn State – Noon, ESPN – PSU -6.5
    • The Hoosiers, who have never won in Happy Valley, and the Nittany Lions are a combined 8-2, but their wins have come against Southern Illinois, FIU, Western Kentucky, Wake Forest, Buffalo, Rutgers, San Diego State and Army. There hasn’t been a whole lot proved here, with Indiana coming close to an upset of Ohio State and Penn State’s offense, despite the presence of touted quarterback Christian Hackenberg, seeming to rely solely on the health of stud freshman tailback Saquon Barkley, who averages nearly nine yards per carry despite playing behind a suspect O-line.
      • Indiana 20.35 – PennSt 30.3—73.15%

Afternoon

  • No. 13 Northwestern at No. 18 Michigan – 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network – Michigan -7.5
    • Last year, Michigan beat Northwestern in the infamous M00N game. It took more than 38 minutes for either team to score. They each turned the ball over three times. And Northwestern out-gained Michigan 264 to 256. There was a lot of bad offense, between two mediocre teams. This year … well, the result could be very similar, even if both teams have now played their way into the top 20. That’s because both defenses have been excellent.
      • Northwestern 13.15 – Michigan 20.9—67.25%

  • Georgia Tech at No. 6 Clemson – 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2 – Clemson -7
    • This would seem to be the perfect opportunity for Clemson to fall victim to a trap or hangover or whatever you want to call it. The Tigers just vaulted into the playoff frontrunner discussion by holding off Notre Dame for a key win at home. Now, they welcome in Georgia Tech and its option offense. This was supposed to be one of the biggest games of the ACC season, but Georgia Tech has faltered, losing to Notre Dame, Duke and North Carolina for a puzzling three-game losing streak.
      • GaTech 16.95 – Clemson 32.05—82.35%

  • No. 19 Georgia at Tennessee – 3:30 p.m., CBS – Tennessee +3
    • The same thing could be said about last week’s Tennessee-Arkansas game: Both of these teams desperately need a win here. Georgia needs to rebound from its embarrassment at the hands of Alabama. Tennessee, after losing yet another close game to Arkansas, has to finally win a big game. The Vols, expected to be SEC East contenders, are sitting at 2-3, and now both teams are staring up at Florida in the division. Tennessee has had a chance to win every game, while Georgia simply failed to show-up against Alabama last week.
      • Georgia 28.15 – Tennessee 26.05—61.95%

  • South Carolina at No. 7 LSU – 3:30 p.m., ESPN – LSU -15
    • This game was supposed to be played at South Carolina, but the devastating flooding there has forced a move to Baton Rouge. LSU is admirably doing everything it can to make South Carolina feel at home, with all the revenue going to South Carolina.
      • SCAR 18.25 – LSU 38.6—87.95%

  • Navy at No. 15 Notre Dame – 3:30 p.m., NBC – Notre Dame -14.5
    • Notre Dame has to respond to a heartbreaking road loss at Clemson by stopping another option team. The Fighting Irish did it against Georgia Tech three weeks ago, and now they’ll take a shot at containing Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who is four touchdowns away from tying Montee Ball’s FBS career rushing touchdowns record. Last year, Reynolds didn’t run for a touchdown against the Irish, but Navy still pushed them in a 49-39 Notre Dame win.
      • Navy 24.1 – Notre Dame 36.95—76.65%
  • Wisconsin at Nebraska – 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2 – Nebraska -1
    • So much for this being the Big Ten West game of the year. Wisconsin can’t run without Corey Clement. Nebraska can’t stop its run of agonizing losses. What Wisconsin can do, however, is play suffocating defense. Linebacker Joe Schobert leads the nation with nine sacks, and only Alabama has moved the ball on the Badgers at all. If their defense can frustrate the inconsistent Tommy Armstrong and force Nebraska to make mistakes, the Badgers might be able to do enough to win a key game on the road and stay near the top of the division race.
      • Wisconsin 24.3 – Nebraska 24.8—57%
  • Minnesota at Purdue – 3:30 p.m., ESPNU – Purdue +3
    • Minnesota, expected by many to be a Big Ten West contender this season, has not been impressive. Its highlight thus far was holding TCU to 23 points in the opener. Since then, the Golden Gophers have beat Ohio, Kent State and Colorado State by three points each, and they’ve been blown out 27-0 by Northwestern.
      • Minnesota 26.75 – Purdue 19.8—66.05%

Prime Time

  • Miami at No. 12 Florida State – 8 p.m., ABC – FSU -9
    • Miami has become known for getting up for the Florida State game, before losing and having its season spiral out of control. Al Golden has yet to beat the rival Seminoles, and his tenure in Coral Gables appears to be careening toward its end. The Hurricanes didn’t bother to wait for the FSU game to start losing; they looked disinterested in a 34-23 loss at Cincinnati last Thursday. Florida State hasn’t exactly been impressive this season either — it won 24-16 at Wake Forest last week.
      • Miami 17.6 – FSU 35.7—86.95%

  • No. 2 TCU at Kansas State – 7:30 p.m., Fox – KState +9.5
    • Last week, Kansas State nearly beat Oklahoma State on the road despite playing most of the game with fifth-string quarterback Kody Cook, primarily a wide receiver, taking snaps because of injuries. Now, it appears that Joe Hubener is ready to return — he passed concussion tests — meaning the former walk-on should be starting at quarterback. (Cook is dealing with a shoulder injury now.) Based on all of the above, this is truly a Bill Snyder team.
      • TCU 29.85 – KState 28.9—52.65%

  • Arkansas at No. 8 Alabama – 7 p.m., ESPN – Alabama -17
    • The best bet for beating Alabama is challenging the Crimson Tide on the perimeter with tempo. This is not what Arkansas does best. The Arkansas offensive line may be big and powerful, but it’s not enough to overwhelm the Crimson Tide. And given that Jake Coker played well against Georgia and Arkansas’ defense has taken a step back from last year, this should be an opportunity for Alabama to earn another decisive win before a huge trip to Texas A&M next week.
      • Arkansas 15.1 – Alabama 39.8—93.2%

  • No. 11 Florida at Missouri – 7:30 p.m., SEC Network – Missouri +6
    • Nobody in Florida wants to ever speak of last year’s Missouri-Florida game ever again, but we’re going to have to quickly do so now. Missouri won 42-13, despite the fact that quarterback Maty Mauk went 6 of 18 for 20 yards and led the team with 38 rushing yards. Missouri won by 29 points despite the fact that it had 119 total yards. It did so because it returned a punt, kickoff, interception and fumble for touchdowns. There were many miserable losses for Florida in the Will Muschamp era, but this was one of the most miserable losses by anybody ever.
      • FU 28.4 – Mizzou 15.8—78.95%

  • No. 21 Oklahoma State at West Virginia – 7 p.m., ESPN2 – West Virginia -7
    • Oklahoma State is off to a 5-0 start, and it visits a West Virginia team that has just lost to Oklahoma by 20 and lost its best player, safety Karl Joseph, to a season-ending knee injury. Maybe this is a good opportunity for a conference road win for the Cowboys. But then again, not all 5-0 records are made equally.
      • OkSt 22.35 – WV 30.05—76.8%

  • No. 4 Michigan State at Rutgers – 8 p.m., Big Ten Network – Rutgers +14.5
    • We have reached the third and final game of the Kyle Flood suspension, and Rutgers may have star receiver Leonte Carroo back after he was reinstated this week. Maybe it will matter, because the Spartans have hardly been impressive this season, even with their win over Oregon (which has since been diminished a bit). Last week, Michigan State nearly choked away a home game against Purdue, winning just 24-21.
      • MichiganSt 40.6 – Rutgers 15.85—92.45%

  • Washington State at Oregon – 6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks – Oregon -17
    • With Vernon Adams still dealing with his broken finger, Oregon used both Jeff Lockie and Taylor Allie in last week’s win over Colorado. The Ducks were far from perfect, but they at least bounced back from the Utah debacle with a road win over the Buffaloes. They racked up 361 yards on the ground, with Royce Freeman and Taj Griffin both breaking 100 yards, and it’s likely that we’ll see a similar strategy at home against Washington State.
      • Wazzu 21.75 – Oregon 41.35—87.45%

Late night

  • No. 23 California at No. 5 Utah – 10 p.m., ESPN – Utah -7.5
    • These two are the only undefeated teams left in the Pac-12. California has the nation’s top NFL draft quarterback prospect in Jared Goff. Utah owns wins over Michigan and Oregon and has gotten improved play out of quarterback Travis Wilson, on top of its stellar defense. The Utes are unbeaten despite the fact that their defense ranks 75th in yards per play and star tailback Devontae Booker is averaging just 4.2 yards per carry, so they still have some things to prove, no matter how impressive their demolition of Oregon was, especially on the road.
      • Cal 20.2 – Utah 37.15—83.35%

  • CU at Arizona State – 10 p.m., Pac-12 Networks – ASU -15
    • After a tough September featuring a loss to Texas A&M and a blowout home loss to USC, Arizona State finally snapped out of its funk last week, upsetting UCLA on the road. Now, it returns home to face a sandwich game against the Buffaloes, before big games against Utah and Oregon. Arizona State is not above disappointing losses — last year, it lost at Oregon State a week after blowing out Notre Dame — but the Sun Devils should hopefully use the UCLA win as a springboard. This offense still lacks explosiveness, but Arizona State should be able to effectively utilize its running backs and short passing game to sustain drives against a beatable Colorado defense.
      • CU 13.15 – ASU 39.7—93.2%

Weekend Update: #SadFansAreSad

#1 with a Bullet…

 

Oh the humanity…Bert, you got waxed again – remember when you opened your mouth at a Texas football camp and said; if you didnt have a fullback you would get your ass kicked?  Well Pepperidge Farms remembers and apparently so did Kingsbury.  All the offseason hype, all the faux-swagger and next week is Texas A&M – you’ve got Hawg-Town losing their minds.  Bert, you know it’s bad when the people of Hawg-nation are calling for Greg Schiano, Lame Kitten, or just outright cheating.  It’s gotta sting the nostrils a bit.  Sure, fans will get over ranking 118th in 3rd-down conversion-defense, or ranking 84th in penalty yards and even 119th in RedZone efficiency – but having Kliff Kingsbury put you in your place?  These are Dark Days Bert, dark days…


Dark Days ahead for Auburn too.  This is who Auburn is.  They just don’t go quietly into the night, they fall off the cliff.  It’s in their DNA.  Their history proves it, and when a defensive back spouts off about how easy it will be to stop Leonard Fournette…well we all saw what happened.  Fournette had Auburn quitting before halftime, especially Mr. Ford – the mouthee.   But, to me, the issue is Jeremy Johnson.  He had a lot of hype coming in and the expectation was that he would do and be everything we’ve come to expect from the field-general of Auburn’s offense.  He has the talent, just not the heart or more importantly the head to get it done, because it is not translating to the field in real time.  Seriously though, it’s Auburn and it was a great weekend for those who dislike the entire state of Alabama.


More sad fans were found in SoCal.  Beyond Sark’s pre-game holla-ba-looza earlier in the year, the only thing people really had to say about him was – He’s a nice guy.  I’m sure he is a nice guy and that is honorable, but when it is attached to a football coach that is getting treatment for a drinking problem, he says he doesn’t have and then Stanford happens, you get flashbacks.  The kind of flashbacks that take you back to Seattle where Sark was 34-29 and the thought was, “it was hard to breakthrough in Washington, and wait and see what he can do with national-elite talent.”  Well we did. Talent is important, but it’s what you do with it, and so far and far too often, Sarkisian is outmatched by the other guy on the other side-line.  It’s going to get harder for “the Fans of Troy” to believe this is going to work as envisioned, because, as of right now –  it’s not the symbol of victory that fans are giving, it’s the number of losses every year.


But what about Ole Miss and Alabama? The Rebels caused five turnovers Saturday and also benefited from a once-in-a-lifetime—see Auburn in bamasad2013—miracle touchdown in a six-point win in Tuscaloosa.  Alabama is going too have to, again, win out.  But is it the same as last year? Last year, Alabama had a defined starting quarterback. Saturday, Nick Saban went with sophomore Cooper Bateman (who got blown up) before he was replaced by Jake Coker – who had started Alabama’s first two games. Coker almost led Alabama to it’s best come-from-behind victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium since the one Cam Newton led in 2010.  This is a fluke they say, the dynasty is still intact, the emperor’s new clothes are still made from the finest invisible silks…To quote our friend Lee Corso – NOT SO FAST…Alabama is 4-5 against top 15 teams since 2013.  That’s a trend, not a fluke, and what I’m saying is – gone are the days that Alabama beats teams with comparable talent more often than not.  Back in the day, Alabama fans would be upset if you beat someone by 10pts instead of 20 and after they’d come back down to earth, they’d be on to the next week.  Now the freakouts seem longer and that might cause Saban to see the writing on the wall and pack up.

For week 3 we were 72% SU and 64% ATS – that still crushes, but it is not what we are used to around here – our upsets did pretty well, but the ones we thought would be E-Z, hmmm not so much as we’d like.  If you haven’t seen it, take a look at how Memphis tied the game at 41 in the 4th qtr against Bowling Green – yeah a full-on double-reverse-flea flicker!!!

Other thoughts I cannot put anywhere else:

  • Notre Dame has lost a starting defensive tackle, a starting tailback, a starting tight end and a starting quarterback to season-ending injuries. Saturday, it may have lost a starting safety to a chest-bump-celebration
  • TCU lost their cornerback to a knee injury against SMU and also had 5 other defensive players sit out with injuries
  • Doing his best Johnny Manziel impression – OU quarterback Baker Mayfield, accounted for a school-record 572 yards of total offense and six touchdowns in the Sooners’ 52-38 win over Tulsa
  • Al Golden escaped with a much needed victory over Nebraska, but it still does not seem to haved cooled off his seat any.  During the game you could see a plane pulling a banner that read: C’MON #FIREGOLDEN. THESE BANNERS ARE EXPENSIVE – nevermind the Hurricanes were up 17 by halftime.  Maybe he felt vindicated after watching Miami choke away a 23pt lead, yet still won 36-33 in OT
  • For Nebraska, it could have been one of the great comebacks in their history – then Tommy Armstrong threw an interception on the 1st play of OT, and then a player gets flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he shoved the Miami guy who intercepted it – Miami, short field goal – ball game.  It’s a heart-breaking way to lose a game, and yet it has happened to Nebraska twice in three weeks.

It’s all about the Benjamin

Some headlines will highlight Johnny Manziel‘s role in the Browns’ 28-14 win over the Titans. But the star of the show was Travis Benjamin, who caught touchdown passes of 60 and 50 yards from Manziel and returned a punt 78 yards for a TD. The only other active players to have scored three TDs of 50 yards or longer in one game were Chris Johnson (2009) and Tavon Austin (2013). Benjamin was the first Browns player ever to do so – ever.

Benjamin also caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from Manziel in the Browns’ season opener. The only other player in NFL history with four touchdowns of 50 yards or longer in his team’s first two games of a season was Jim Brown for Cleveland in 1963 – 1963!

Manziel may have completed just 8-of-15 passes, but he was able to limit the turnovers and make plays when the Browns needed him the most.  In reality, there is absolutely no reason for Mike Pettine to go back to a lower-ceiling quarterback in Josh McCown.  As a result of Manziel replacing McCown, Cleveland extended its streak to 14 consecutive seasons in which at least two different players started a game at QB. That tied the longest such streak in the NFL since 1950, set by New England from 1980 to 1993. The Patriots drafted Drew Bledsoe with the first pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, and Bledsoe ended New England’s streak in 1994.


Are the Cardinals early Favorites?

Fresh off a solid win against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, Bruce Arians and the Cardinals laid the smack down against an inferior Bears team in Chicago. While the game was relatively close about halfway through, anyone watching it knew full well that Arizona was going to end up pulling away.

For Carson Palmer, it was a continuation of what has been a stellar run for a USC quarterback. The veteran has posted a 15-2 record with 34 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions. His four touchdowns on Sunday – including three to Larry Fitzgerald – represents the first time Palmer has matched that total since he was with the Oakland Raiders back in November of 2012.  That was the first regular-season game of Fitzgerald’s NFL career in which he scored more than two touchdowns; he came into the game with 89 TDs.

Only one player in league history with that many touchdowns never scored three in a game: Charley Taylor (90 TDs) – (Note that Fitzgerald caught three touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game following the 2008 season, but never before in a regular-season game.)


New Rams, same as the old Rams

All the good feelings the St. Louis Rams may have felt following their Week 1 win over the Seattle Seahawks came crashing down in D.C. on Sunday. Never really in control of the game against Washington, St. Louis dropped an ugly game by the score of 24-10. At this point, we have come to expect Fisher-led squads to lay eggs following good performances.

It happened in all three of the Rams big wins last year — against Seattle, San Francisco and Denver. In fact, the Rams lost the following week after beating those favored teams. This is one of the primary reasons I avoided to pick St. Louis on Sunday.

Kirk Cousins completed 23 of 27 passes (85%) and Matt Jones gained 123 yards on 19 carries in the Redskins’ 24-10 win over the Rams. Jones and Alfred Morris, who gained 121 yards on Week 1, are the first Redskins teammates to rush for at least 100 yards in the team’s first and second game of a season (one in each game, that is). The only other running backs to do that in this century were LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner for San Diego in 2006.

For his part, Cousins posted the fourth-highest completion percentage in team history (minimum: 20 passes). The three higher marks were by Mark Brunell, 89 percent against Houston in 2006; Patrick Ramsey (Tulane), 86 percent against the Giants in 2004; and Sammy Baugh, 86 percent against the Steelers in 1945.


New England is putting the league on notice

Tom Brady passed for 466 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots’ 40-32 win at Buffalo. Brady’s totals after two games-754 yards and 7 TDs without an INT-are rare even for a quarterback of his elite status. This is the second time he has passed for at least 700 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two games of season, the first being 2011. Only four other players did that even once: Jim Kelly (1991), Drew Bledsoe for the Patriots (1994), Peyton Manning (2013), and Aaron Rodgers (2013). Of those players, only Manning and Brady did so without throwing an interception.

Incidentally, Brady set a record for passing yards in one game against the Bills, breaking a mark that was set the same month that Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home-run record. On October 29, 1961, George Blanda of the Houston Oilers passed for 464 yards at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, and that mark remained the highest against the Bills until Sunday.

At some point, the Patriots will have to find a run/pass balance on offense – right?. They won’t be able to dominate like this through the air on a consistent basis – can they? The interesting dynamic here is that New England did average nearly four yards per rush. It’s not like the running game was completely ineffective.  Instead, Bill Belichick and Co. decided to make a statement, again, that the big boys of the East don’t reside in Western New York and play under Rex Ryan.  It could be a long year for anyone who gets in their way.


The Eagles are mess

About halfway through three quarters on Sunday against Dallas, the Eagles had racked up more penalty yards than total yards. Heck, the Cowboys domination could be summed up by the fact that they had run more plays (44) – at about the nine-minute mark in the third quarter – than the Eagles had total yards (34). It was that ugly.

The Cowboys defeated the Eagles, 20-10, in a game in which the story was Tony Romo‘s broken collarbone.  But storyline 1-A was the continued ineffectiveness of DeMarco Murray, who netted two yards on 13 carries one week after gaining nine yards on eight carries in Philadelphia’s season opener.  Over the last 30 seasons, there are only four games in which a defending rushing champion gained less than 10 yards on at least five carries. Christian Okoye did it in 1990, Chris Johnson in 2010, and Murray in each of his first two games with the Eagles.

Murray’s net of 2 yards was the third lowest in NFL history by a defending rushing champion in a game of at least 10 carries. Steve Van Buren of the Eagles was held to negative-2 yards on 10 carries by the Browns in 1950; and Clem Daniels, the 1963 AFL rushing leader, carried 14 times for negative-1 yard against the Boston Patriots in the Raiders’ opening game of the 1964 season.  But Murray’s performance on Sunday was extraordinary for any player, not just for a rushing champion. Over the last 37 seasons, only one other player finished a game with at least as many carries and as few rushing yards as Murray. Jonathan Wells of the Texans carried 13 times for 1 yard on Dec. 29, 2002 against the Titans.

It’s this type of offensive performance that will have many questioning Chip Kelly’s scheme moving forward. More than that, it will have skeptics on full alert when it comes to criticizing the team’s off-season moves. And now at 0-2 on the season, Philadelphia finds itself in a must-win situation against the New York Jets next week.


6 straight home losses?!

At 0-2 on the season (2nd straight year), Drew Brees and Co. are in a terrible position. Only 10 percent of teams that have started 0-2 since the 2007 season have earned a playoff spot. And while playing in the NFC South helps New Orleans early in the year, they just lost a home game against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad that won just two games last season.  Costing many people their survivor pool!!!

Jameis Winston led the Buccaneers to a 26-19 win at New Orleans. Winston became the first quarterback chosen first in the NFL Draft to get a September road win in his rookie season since John Elway did so in 1983.  Of course, Elway’s two road wins in September 1983 have a big fat asterisk, since Steve DeBerg was the QB who rallied the Broncos to both of those victories.

Since that time, #1 picks had lost 16 straight September starts in their rookie season, and it’s an impressive list of QBs: two losses each by Troy Aikman, Jeff George, Drew Bledsoe, Peyton Manning, Tim Couch, and David Carr, followed by single losses by Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, and Andrew Luck.

There isn’t much left up for interpretation here. New Orleans appears to be terrible.

Looking well past his prime, Brees was outplayed by Jameis.  Drew completed 24-of-38 passes for 255 yards with one touchdown and one interception. This came on the heels of Tampa Bay’s defense yielding FOUR touchdown passes to Marcus Mariota last week.

If the Saints can’t win a home game against a bottom-feeder, it pretty much tells us what we need to know about this team. Unfortunately for Brees, the twilight of his career is likely going to be spent with fans watching him thru paper-bags.

 

Road to the College Football Playoff – The First 6 Weeks

Today we make it College Football Day! With 2 weeks left before the pageantry and tradition resume, we’re gonna give you the first 6 weeks of a week-to-week glance, at the games that could decide who makes the 2nd College Football Playoff!  The season kicks off on Thursday, September 3rd, with 19 games (all times are EASTERN).

Week 1

Ohio St(-11.5) @ Virginia Tech, 8p (Monday<9-7>) – Anyone know who starts for Ohio State? How will the 4 suspensions of Ohio St players impact the game?  Does VaTech repeat last year’s upset at home? – we’ll see

Wisconsin v Alabama(-10.5), 8p in Arlington – In neutral site openers under Nick Saban, Alabama iscropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.png 5-0 – with an average margin of victory of 19pts.  Does Alabama have a QB?  What does new coach Paul Chryst have prepared for another re-loaded Crimson Tide?

Michigan @ Utah(-6), 8:30p (Thursday) – Jim Harbaugh returns to his Alma-Mater and will be a heavily watched game.  The problem could be that despite all the pre-season pub Harbaugh got, this is still a good Utah team that beat the Wolverines in Ann Arbor last year 26-10.

  • TCU(-14) @ Minnesota, 9p (Thursday)
  • UNC v SCAR(-2.5) in Charlotte (Thursday) 6p
  • Washington @ Boise St(-10.5), 10:15p (Friday)
  • BYU @ Nebraska(-6.5), 3:30p
  • Louisville  v Auburn(-11) in Atlanta, 3:30p
  • ASU v Texas a+m(-3) in Houston, 7p
  • Texas @ Notre Dame(-9.5), 7:30p

Week 2

Oregon @ Michigan St, 8p – Just like last year this will be the first top 10 matchup of the year and it could be cray in East Lansing.  Also like last year the winner could have an inside track to the ‘offs.

LSU @ Mississippi St, 9:15p – Last year the bulldawgs took it to the Tigers in Death Valley.  Look for payback in Stark-Vegas.

Oklahoma @ Tennessee, 6p – Oklahoma is always over-rated and Tennessee has been on the comeback for 10years – someone has to break.  Could it be any different than OU duplicating last year’s 34-10 win?

  • Utah St @ Utah, 9p (Friday)
  • Houston @ Louisville, noon
  • Oregon St @ Michigan, noon
  • Notre Dame @ Virginia, 3:30p
  • Iowa @ Iowa St, 4:30p
  • Kentucky @ SCAR, 7:30p
  • Boise St @ BYU, 10:15p

Week 3

Auburn @ LSU, 3:30p – Another September SEC West battle that could decide the who goes to Atlanta.  LSU got whooped last year 41-7, but Auburn has not won in RED STICK since 1999 – too bad this game is not at night, where it belongs – either way FUQ Auburn!

Stanford @ USC, 8p – If the Trojans are the preseason pick to win the PAC 12 then they have to get by the Cardinal.  The last two meeting have been decided by a Trojan field goal.

Ole Miss @ Alabama, 9:15p – Revenge is a dish served….um….anyway Saban is 9-1 in these types of games since arriving in Tuscaloosa – we’ll know enough about both teams after this game and their prospects of being in Atlanta.

  • Clemson @ Louisville, 7:30p (Thursday)
  • Georgia Tech @ Notre Dame, 3:30p
  • Nebraska @ Miami, 3:30p
  • SCAR @ Georgia, 6p
  • TexasTech @ Arkansas, 7p
  • Cal @ Texas, 7:30p
  • BYU @ UCLA, 10:30p

Week 4

UCLA @ Arizona – If Arizona is the defending PAC 12 South champion then this game could see two undefeated teams meet in week 4 for the inside track.  Under Rich-Rod the ‘cats are 0-3 against the Bruins.

MissSt @ Auburn – Both teams could be licking their wounds after losses to LSU – or it could be an early SEC West triangle of nonsense.  MissSt has won the last two out of three – but at home, Auburn has won the last three.  Either way, so is life in the SEC West meat-grinder.

Tennessee @ Florida – remember when this game meant anything.  There are children who have been born, that have no idea what this meant.  If Tennessee is truly the dark-horse everyone is making them, they have to beat Florida.  For Florida’s Jim McElwain, it is a must win!

  •  Cincy @ Memphis, 7:30p (Thursday)
  • OklahomaSt @ Texas
  • BYU @ Michigan
  • Texas a+m @ Arkansas
  • USC @ ASU
  • Utah @ Oregon
  • GaTech @ Duke

Week 5

Alabama @ Georgia – this game will be a Running Back battle featuring ‘Bama’s Derrick Henry and UGA’s Nick Chubb.  The last time these two played in Athens – it was a funeral for Georgia in their “blackout” game, as Alabama took a 31-0 lead at halftime.  The final score was 41-30 and was never that close.

Notre Dame @ Clemson – Notre Dame has not been to Clemson since 1979, so expect a raucous crowd in Memorial Stadium.  It should provide plenty of fireworks if Deshaun Watson and Malik Zaire put on a show.

Texas @ TCU – the Horned Frogs took the Longhorns behind the woodshed last year, 48-10.  Charlie Strong needs this game or he could be finding himself on the hot seat.

  • Miami @ Cincy, 7:30p (Thursday)
  • Iowa @ Wisconsin
  • Ole Miss @ Florida
  • SCAR @ Mizzou
  • Arkansas @ Tennessee
  • ASU @ UCLA
  • West Virginia @ Oklahoma

Week 6

Oklahoma v Texas – the Red River Rivalry is still a spectacle – for Charlie Strong, many misgivings can be forgiven if the Longhorns take down the Sooners.  These teams have split the last 10 meetings and for Strong, it is a crucial two weeks.

Miami @ FSU – FSU has one of the easiest schedules – get by the ‘Canes and their next toughest opponent in September is @ Boston College.  Al Golden is 0-4 against FSU, but they do have Brad Kaaya.  Jimbo is a nice 5-0 against the Hurricanes.  The biggest question mark is who will be FSU’s QB for this game?

Wisconsin @ Nebraska – this has leader in the clubhouse for the winner, for the BIG (not)10 West Division.  Dominance is spelled B-U-C-K-Y – as the Badgers have won 3-of-the-last-4 meetings by an average of 35pts – but Wisconsin did lose their last trip to Lincoln…

  • Washington @ USC, 9p (Thursday)
  • GaTech @ Clemson
  • Arkansas @ Alabama
  • TCU @ KSTATE
  • Florida @ Mizzou
  • LSU @ SCAR
  • Georgia @ Tennessee

 

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Nose in the DiRT

Merry New Year

Quick and DiRTy – The Armed Forces Bowl – Houston is down 21pts with 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter to Pittsburgh – they begin on their own 17 yard-line – Houston scores a touchdown with 3:41 left to play – Onside kick is recovered by Houston – Houston then scores another touchdown with 1:58 to play – Houston, down by 7, successfully recovers their SECOND onside kick – scores a touchdown and converts for 2pts to take the lead 35-34 over Pitt with 54 seconds left.  Houston scores 29pts and racks up over 290 yards in the 4th quarter to beat Pitt 35-34.  Another amazing finish for this terrific bowl-season.  If you followed our bowl picks you would see that we are 69.6% of the 33 bowl games played with 5 remaining.  No other site – that we have seen – is over 60% accuracy.  Of the 8 games we provided, that had a probability of 80% or more – we are currently 5-of-7 with Washington left to play, for 71.4% accuracy overall.


after this bowl season it looks like the SEC West has cable

SEC West – After being called the most dominant division in all of college football – they ended up being a joke this bowl season, (while we are telling jokes, someone tell Les Miles that he supposed to let Leonard Fournette touch the ball more than 11 times against Notre Dame – seriously?!! – and develop a damn QB!!!).  The entire Gulf Coast got embarrassed and for most of 2015 everyone can tell SEC-fan to shut it.  Does it mean the end of an era?  Maybe not, but instead lets applaud the selection committee and applaud the brilliance of a 4 team playoff – because the beauty of it all is what we witnessed yesterday.  Think about it, the BCS would have given us Alabama v FSU and likely another title in a flawed system.  It is possible to conceive that if we would have done the right thing at the start of this millennium the southern dominance would not have been so dramatic, or maybe this is just a hiccup.


Congratulations to…

Everbody Duck!

Oregon – started slow and then ran away with it, thanks to FSU who turned the ball over 5 times in 20 minutes and then did their best impression of a flight-less bird that likes its head in the sand.  After the game, some “student-athletes” chanted and gesticulated their immaturity when they chanted “no-means-no” to the tune of the Seminole-War-chant making fun of Jameis and his rape-allegation.  The move comes off as idiotic as the Preacher that spews fire and brimstone about the evils of homosexuality and drugs – only to be found in a gay massage parlor soliciting sexual favors for meth.  The irony would be, however, that these players are punished more for this than Jameis was.  On a lighter note, the sagacity of college football fans is on full display here: (click for more)

Memes1

Ohio State – the last time two coaches met in a bowl game with multiple National Championships was in 1977, also in the Sugar Bowl and also Ohio State v Alabama.  However, this time it was Ohio State with the victory.  It also means that Nick Saban is terrible with Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and his overall record is 8-8 in bowl games (he is perfect however in the Sugar Bowl when LSU is involved).  Meanwhile, Urban Meyer is 8-2 in bowl games and has yet to lose a conference game in the BIG (not)10.  If Urban wins against Oregon, who do you say is the better coach – you would have to say it goes to Urban with what he did at Utah, Florida and now THE Ohio State, 3rd string QB, etc.., right?!  You could tell that when Ohio State finally scored a touchdown – also an amazing catch – that the (low)tide had changed, and every SC fan was all-to-familiar with that offense from Lane Kiffin, #DejaVu.  No SEC or ‘bama apologists can take away what happened – a third-string QB made Alabama look slow and proved to be better than any QB the Tide have.  The BIG (not)10 made a statement yesterday – now it’s on to Dallas and it is gonna come down to which team plays better D.

Doug Marrone – for having a phenomenal contract.  Doug left the Bills because of a clause in his contract that gave him a 3-day period to opt out at the end of the regular season if the Bills were sold while he was the coach.  Even better was the absence of another clause that no matter what happens, the Bills still have to pay him $4 million for 2015.  Who knows what the reasons exactly are or what he may have said to Bill Polian to keep him from taking over the GM duties in Buffalo – but I will go with his contract and the rumor that he asked for an extension for his assistants and himself, and on both counts, he was told no.  That makes it a no brainer for me when you consider further that the Bills do not have a 1st round draft pick and no QB – at least one that was not benched for Uncle Rico – and a love for all things New York.


My knees and my back…

Being 30 is hard, especially when you have to carry so many people.  Maybe now Cleveland can figure out how to get Kevin Love going and play up to expectations – or maybe this team already is playing to its realistic potential and Lebron just needs a break to see where his talents are going geaux next year.  Anyway, when I heard about his two-week stay-cation because of his knees and his back – I went straight to this classic:


NFL Playoffs

It never gets old…

with the playoffs approaching, here are some things to consider:

Cardinals Arizona_whitetail_ntc120 @ Carolina_6n_120 Panthers 01/03 04:35 PM ESPN Rain 50f Drizzle 3m ENE

CAR -6.5 (38)

This seems like a classic trap scenario – The public is all over the Panthers and why not?  Arizona has not scored a rushing TD in their last 7 games and averages only 1 TD/game offensively.  Factoring in that the Carolina D has returned to being excellent the last few games and you wonder how Arizona is going to score.  But, you should never question the power of TEAM and the belief that it is US against THEM and regardless of Ryan Lindley or Logan Thomas, it is still (s)Cam Newton and Ron Rivera without a playoff victory.  The numbers say this game is close and the Panthers win by 2.5, but I’m gonna take the Fightin’ Bruce Arians and the points.

FanDuel considerations: Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Olsen, J.Stewart, Cam Newton

Vegas consideration: tease the OVER and Arizona plus 6.5

Numbers say: CAR 21  AZ 18


Ravens Baltimore_ntc120 @ Pittsburg_ntc120 Steelers 01/03 08:15 PM NBC Nrain 44f Light Rain 9m SSE

PIT -3 (45)

This game comes down to each teams Passing Defense and their ability to limit aerial touchdowns.  9 of the last 13 games these two teams have played have been decided by 3pts or less.  So this is likely to be another came that is close and comes down to field goals.  It is expected that Leveon Bell will not play and so that makes it more important for BigBen to throw that pig-bladder all over the yard.  I trust Ben more than Flacco, but I trust Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens, (who have more recent success) more than I trust Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers.  The numbers say Ravens win and that’s where I will side.

FanDuel considerations: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, J.Forsett, Torrey Smith, Flacco

Vegas consideration: BAL plus 3 and tease the OVER

Number say: BAL 23  PIT 20


Bengals Cinncinnati_6n_120 @ Indianapolis_6n_120 Colts 01/04 01:05 PM CBS Dome DOME 20m WSW

IND -3 (49)

Jeremy Hill is trucking 6.5 YPC the last 3 weeks and seems to have given the Bengals greater toughness on the offensive side of the ball – when motivated.  Andrew Luck is 31-19 against the spread and Indy smoked them the last time they played.  But, teams playing again in the playoffs after beating the other by more than 2 TD’s, are 10 games below .500 the next time.  So do you trust Dalton enough with that running game to beat the Colts?  This time around expect the game to be closer but the Colts still win.

FanDuel consideration: Andrew Luck, TY Hilton, Jeremy Hill, Sanu, Dwayne Allen

Vegas consideration: tease INDY and tease the OVER

Numbers say: IND 25  CIN 21


Lions Detroit_6n_120 @ Dallas_6n120 Cowboys 01/04 04:40 PM FOX Clear-day 40f Clear 10m NNW

DAL -6.5 (48)

You could say that if this was a road game for Dallas it would be a gimme, considering they were 8-0 on the road this year.  The public is all over Dallas but look who they have played to finish the year and it’s a bit of fool’s gold.  Not to say that Dallas is not good, because they are, (they might be the best overall team) but Detroit has an excellent D that could take advantage of Dallas’ home struggles.  But it still comes down to who do you trust at QB – Stafford or Romo – and although you might say it is a toss-up, the numbers validate Romo.  This should be close but Dallas wins the game and Detroit is the right play with getting 6.5.

FanDuel consideration: DeMarco Murray, E.Ebron, Dez Bryant, Golden Tate

Vegas consideration: Detroit plus 6.5 and tease the OVER

Numbers say: DAL 24  DET 21


Possible lineup combinations for FanDuel

#1

Big Ben

Demarco

J.Hill

Golden Tate

Steve Smith

Sanu

Olsen

Bailey

Bengals


#2

Flacco

j.Hill

j.Stew

Ant.Brown

Mi.Floyd

Steve Smith

Olsen

Nugent

Bengals


#3

Cam

Herron

Bush

Ant.Brown

Calvin Johnson

Torrey Smith

Witten

Bailey

Lions